As the three of us returned to the beach, a feeling of tension stirred in my stomach – was there going to be another fight? Charlie was acting slightly lairy and Stewart was the same chilled-out self which put me even more on edge. If something happened to Charlie, Stewart wasn't going to be particularly bothered. A few heads turned as we took a seat by the fire but nothing aggressive,
“Looks like Tyler has gone home,” Stewart observed,
“For now anyway, Tyler doesn't seem like the kind of guy to miss out on any sort of party, he'll probably be back,” Charlie told us stiffly. I made sure Charlie was aware of how I felt on the matter and instructed him to stay away from Tyler even if he returned - which later on he did. When he arrived there was a hostile silence, all you could hear was the crackle of the fire and the breaking of the waves. A few moments later conversations restarted but Tyler remained where he was watching us,
“Who invited these guys?” he asked under his breath to a friend,
“Not me,” the friend replied. Tyler raised his eyebrows and tutted and then made his way over to Hannah and left us in peace.
“I really thought he was going to do something then,” I whispered to Stewart, he put his arm around my shoulder and squeezed,
“I'd protect you if anything like that happened, it's best to leave the boys to fight,”
“I wasn't planning on joining in,” I muttered swigging at some beer Charlie had found us.
About half an hour later the party had really kicked off, a guy with dreadlocks was sat facing the fire playing a guitar and other people were singing along. There seemed to be an ever lasting supply of beers and bags of marshmallows revolved around the fire for people to toast. A few people came to speak to us but the conversations never lasted more than five minutes, I was content just sitting here taking the atmosphere in. But I couldn't help noticing there was someone missing, Nate seemed like the kind of guy to come to these things but I guessed maybe it wasn't his crowd. Before I could dwell too much on his absence he arrived, making a bee-line to Hannah and Tyler. I watched through the flames, no one else seemed to have noticed the look in Nate's face apart from me. Stewart and Charlie were talking to Jane, the singing continued and the laughter but the feeling of tension re-emerged and I pulled my legs to my chest, watching. I could only make out parts of the conversation.
“Thought...you two here,” Nate said,
“...off,” Tyler retorted, I didn't catch exactly what he said but I could insert a number of swear words into the sentence.
“Seriously Hannah, you told me it was nothing...now...together?” I shimmied around the circle to get a better view and to be more in earshot, I felt like a stalker but it was interesting and I had nothing better to do. “What do you expect me to think when you insist you and Tyler didn't sleep together and then a few days later you're all cosy with each other?”
“I gave you so many chances Nate to come and apologize for not trusting me, but instead you stayed your own stubborn self. What was I supposed to think? That you still loved me?”
“I do still love you!” he insisted,
“You kissed my best friend!” Hannah almost screamed,
“It was a drunken mistake,” he yelled back,
“Is that what you think?” Jan appeared out of nowhere and I realised it was just me who had been eavesdropping.
“Stay out of this Jan,” Nate said darkly. “It's nothing to do with you.” Jane looked close to tears, Hannah and Tyler were still on the ground and Tyler still had his hands wrapped around Hannah. Nate was stood above them with his arms folded. Hannah wriggled out of Tyler's hold and stood up to face Nate.
“I won't stay out of this!” she cried, “God you're both so blind!”
“What do you mean?” Hannah asked,
“Can't you see, Nate, that Hannah didn't sleep with Tyler? She was telling the truth the whole time but because you accused her, you made her feel this big...” she made a gesture with her fingers, “...driving her away from you and towards Tyler!”
“I don't know what made you think you were the relationship dictator,” Nate growled, “but that's all a load of bull. How I see it is that Hannah slept with Tyler, lied to me about it, made me feel this big,” he copied Jan's gesture, “and then went and rubbed it in my face,”
“We didn't sleep together!” Hannah cried in sincerity, “Tell them Tyler!” There was a moment of tension as Tyler stood up and wiped the sand off his short, “Tell them!” Hannah urged.
“On the night of my party Hannah and I...slept together.” My mouth dropped in surprise, as did Hannah's and Jan's. Hannah turned round and slapped Tyler in the face,
“Why are you lying?!” she shouted. Everyone else now seemed to be attuned into this argument and were all watching in suspense.
“I'm not,” Tyler held up his hands, “it was the best sex ever, our hot naked bodies...” Nate couldn't take it anymore and threw a punch which hit Tyler square in the jaw. If I were to place odds I would have probably put them on Nate, although it was any man's victory at this point. Tyler stumbled backwards and regained his composure, running back at Nate and attempting to punch him back.
“Fight! Fight! Fight!” The guy with dreads began to cheer,
“The difference between you and me?” Nate said holding Tyler in a headlock, “You're intoxicated with alcohol and I'm not.” He shoved Tyler towards the sand and he landed with a thud,
“Stop it! Stop it!” Jan yelled grabbing Nate's arm, he pushed her to one side as if she was as strong as a feather.
“The difference between you and me?” Tyler asked spitting blood into the sand,
“You're bleeding and I'm not?” Nate offered,
“Is that I play dirty!” He scrambled up and ran towards the fire, he reached towards it and pulled out a branch which had one end burning and the other not. He waved it towards Nate, Nate took a step back. “Oh now you're scared?”
“Tyler,” Hannah warned, “Put it down,”
“We're playing dirty are we?” Nate asked, he picked up a bottle of beer and smashed it on a rock. “Bring it.”
This was not good. So not good. Before it had even begun I could pretty much taste the violence.